It is absolutely vital that the immune system fires at the right time when encountering a pathogen. Perhaps less obvious but equally important is the deactivation of the immune cells quickly after this threat is suppressed. Specialized immune cells, called macrophages, play a prominent role in the immune response. Gijs Versteeg and his team recently discovered a possible molecule involved in the correct tempering of the immune system after the response has been completed sufficiently. “In recent years, it has become very clear that these immune cells are chronically over- or under-activated in many diseases. We want to understand how these cells are turned on and off at the molecular level,” Gijs explains.
The FWF grant, amounting to over EUR 350.000, will allow the recruitment of PhD students to follow up on intriguing questions encountered. Gijs adds: “This grant gives us the fantastic opportunity to understand how these cells are regulated under physiological conditions so that we can better understand what goes wrong in disease, and hopefully identify cellular factors for future therapeutic intervention”.
Originally a Dutch native, Gijs Versteeg is a group leader at the MFPL since 2013, after a successful PostDoc at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.